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Here are some super effective remedies for irritating whiteheads, told by an expert

Updated on:21 May 2020, 14:37pm IST
Whiteheads isn’t just an irritating addition to the skin but can also be painful. An expert tells us why they appear and how to prevent as well as fix acne with a few simple remedies.
Dr Rinky Kapoor
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They’re irritating but fixable! Image courtesy: Shutterstuck
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Ah, the bane of acne! They appear out of nowhere and one is often at loss about what to do about them. Rather than just popping them, the very first step of getting rid of acne is to know the type of acne you are dealing with. Whiteheads, blackheads, pustules, papules, cysts, and/or nodules are all types of pimples. 

Whiteheads are the form of acne that is the hardest to detect
More than 85% of people have them and they go unnoticed for a long time. The most affected areas are the T- zone, chin, cheek, and forehead. Whiteheads are very different in terms of appearance and formation from the traditional image of a pimple that we have in mind.

How to check for them?
If you want to know how they look like, stretch your chin downwards and curl your lower lip inside. The small white bumps that you see halfway between are the whiteheads. 

cure to acne breakout
Whiteheads are a kind of acne that can ruin your day. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

What causes whiteheads?
Whiteheads develop when then sebum, skin cells, and hair form a plug in the hair follicle. The natural oils are produced in the pilosebaceous units (PSUs) that are present on the face, chest, and back.  The enlarged plug in the hair follicle remains under the skin surface and develops into a small white bump called the whitehead or closed comedones. 

If whiteheads are left untreated for long, they can become infected and pop out as inflamed acne with a white centre. The most common causes of whiteheads are:

  • Hormonal changes in the body because of puberty, pregnancy, menopause, and mensuration
  • Use of incorrect cosmetics
  • Excessive sebum production under the skin
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Perspiration
  • Greasy, sugary diet
  • Birth control pills
  • Environmental factors such as humidity and pollution
  • Oily hair
  • Overexposure to sun

Sometimes you can do everything right but still, the whiteheads appear. You should not try popping or squeezing the whitehead out because it will only make it worse.  Also, friction caused by headscarves, helmets, backpacks, wearing glasses, stress, and excessive scrubbing can cause the whiteheads to increase.

Whiteheads tend to pop up overnight but there is no overnight cure to them.  Consistent treatment is the key to treat whiteheads and the results sometimes take up to 6 weeks to appear. 

There are a plethora of ingredients in your kitchen pantry that you can use as a safe way to get rid of whiteheads. Here are some of the favourites:

1. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 16 parts of water. Dab on the whiteheads once a week. This will soften the clogged pores. Don’t overdo the application though; it will lead to dry skin.

2. Steaming can open the clogged pores. Concentrate the steam on the T-zone and the upper body. The steam from the boiled water will help you in a great way.

3. Use the multipurpose apple cider vinegar as an astringent. Mix 2 tablespoons with 16 parts of water and dab on the affected area. Apple cider vinegar acts as an antibacterial and antimicrobial agent.

home remedies for hormonal acne
Apple cider vinegar on, whiteheads gone. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Diluted lemon juice also helps in soaking up the extra oil and reduces the inflammation. Apply on the affected area and leave it for 20 mins. Wash and apply moisturizer.

5. Mix aloe vera with lemon juice and lightly massage on the whiteheads. Do this three times a week and watch the whiteheads disappear.

6. Mix one teaspoon of jojoba oil with a few drops of tea tree oil. Massage gently on the face and leave it overnight. This reduces the production of the body’s natural sebum thus reducing whiteheads.

vitamin E oil
Jojoba oil is a must if you are dealing with whiteheads. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

7. Grate a raw potato and take out its juice. Dab on your skin using a cotton ball, leave it for 10 mins, and wash normally.

8. Don’t throw away the used green tea bag. Apply it on your face for a few minutes. A great alternative for opening the pores up and getting rid of whiteheads.

9. Whip up some egg whites and apply them on the face for 20 minutes or until dry. This helps in tightening the area around the eyes too.

benefits of eating eggs
Egg nourishes your skin to the T. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

Whiteheads are one of the most irritating and unwelcome guests on our skin but you can fix them as well as work on preventing them with a little bit of regular skincare!

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Dr Rinky Kapoor Dr Rinky Kapoor

Consultant Dermatologist, Cosmetic Dermatologist & Dermato-Surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics